Home Forums EKN Feedback Feedback Appreciated!

This topic contains 43 replies, has 23 voices, and was last updated by  Jerry Pretti 1 year ago.

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  • #7340

    Rob Howden
    Keymaster

    Hello EKN readers,

    We’d like to thank everyone for taking the time to provide us with feedback on the new site, and specifically the new forum format. We’ve taken all of the input from the launch through to this weekend, and we’ve put together a wish list work document that we’ll be using to evolve the site over the next month.

    We’ve obviously made a few visual upgrades since the launch, using your input, to improve the overall experience. We’ll continue to research more additions and improvements to address the popular requests.

    That said, what you see today are the new EKN forums. We’re thrilled to see content and information being added every day and we hope you’ll all continue to be part of the forum community, providing your knowledge and passion to the forum content.

    On behalf of the EKN staff, we thank you for frequenting the site and the forums and we wish you the best in the future.

    #7436

    James McMahon
    Participant

    So are you done taking feedback? I’m disappointed the feedback thread has gone away.

    #7443

    Rob Howden
    Keymaster

    So are you done taking feedback? I’m disappointed the feedback thread has gone away.

    Jim, we are ALWAYS open to feedback. We took the last thread, developed a work list using the suggestions and requests from a number of our readers, and then removed it from forum section. That’s what feedback is for. I certainly don’t intend to leave a thread on the site in which readers have openly bashed our efforts to improve EKN. I think everyone would agree that this would not be in the best interest of the site. Personally, I love the new site and I really like the look and feel of the forums. As we continue to work on the features, I hope more people will feel the same way. We are certainly working to evolve the new forums to include additional features, as this is on our priority list.

    That said, this is my business and it’s a free site for our readers. I would make the assumption that most of the people who have made aggressively negative comments about the new forum have not taken this into account. They’re simply commenting based on their own needs and desires, and not that of a vibrant business that MUST to be run with fiscal responsibility. EKN is in the business of supporting and promoting the sport of karting by working closely with organizations to provide media coverage and exposure, and in the business of providing unparalleled advertising value to the karting industry. Of the 100+ readers who post actively on the forums, about 5000 more just lurk…and, they read the editorial, the race reports, the rankings, our columns, etc etc. The forum is not the be-all and end-all of EKN. In fact, we have many more great components in the works that will be bringing even more value to the site.

    In the end, people have different priorities. I’ll make my decisions based on my mandate for the site, not based solely on the input of readers who simply want the forums THEIR way.

    #7449

    Greg Wright
    Participant

    Rob, I can certainly appreciate what it takes to run a business particularly one involved with the quirky world of kart racing. No question that the choices are yours, I have refrained from making negative comments and still have no constructive criticism to offer.

    I do feel that the importance of the old forum format has been underestimated, time will tell I guess.

    I hope for the very best.

    #7453

    Rob Howden
    Keymaster

    Greg,

    I’d love to hear your thoughts on how the old forum format was underestimated. In terms of educating racers new to the sport, we’ve got components in the works that will aid this more than ever before.

    #7482

    James McMahon
    Participant

    Rob thanks for the taking the time to explain your views.

    I agree that the non-constructive comments needed to go, but the entire thread going away surprised me. I’ve always been openly cognizant and sympathetic towards the amount of work required to keep a site like ekartingnews going and you have my respect for that.

    #7504

    Dustin McGrew
    Participant

    I do web development for a living. You guys are getting some terrible advice from somebody. To put it bluntly, if you or whoever is leading you guys to believe this forum will be better than the old one, you are out of your minds. To get all of the features the old forum had you will have to 1) rely on others to create plugins for bbPress or 2) create your own plugins. Neither of these options are easy or cheap. Doing a quick search on bbPress.org there are no advanced search plugins. Even putting an icon that tells the user if there are new posts in a category is a pain in the ass if not near impossible. Why would you want to go through all of that trouble when you could have went with software that is purpose built to be a forum like phpBB 3, vBulletin, or ipBoard? Quotes aren’t even working correctly on this forum. Come on guys.

    #7509

    Joshua Guiher
    Participant

    One look through the classified forums and you can see how things aren’t working. Formatting is all jacked up, quotes, etc.

    In fact, just the lack of posted ads versus the old site should be telling enough, don’t even need to look at analytics.

     

    TBH though, as a newbie to karting, websites sure don’t seem like they are high priority for anyone. Hell, even WKA hasn’t posted any stories or results from the Man. Cup races on Sat & Sun.

    #7512

    Rob Howden
    Keymaster

    Dustin, while I appreciate that you seem to think you know how I run my business, you do not. Here’s a great thing about the free market system. I am offering a free product for you to use. If you like it and want to use it, you can. If you don’t like it, don’t use it. It’s simple.

    If this is the case, don’t tell me how to run my business either. We’ve built a new website with a new forum, and I like it. I’ve received countless emails from people in the community and the industry that like it as much as I do. Yes, we’re going to see if we can make some adjustments to respond to request from a few forum members, but that’s it.

    Personally, I’ve heard enough from you. If you don’t like the fries at a restaurant and keeping coming in to tell the chef how to cook his fries, eventually, you’re not going to be allowed back in the door. Let me give you a hint…it’s the same here at EKN.

    I love feedback, but I don’t like, nor will I stand for, disrespectful comments or continuing negative bashing. You and I are done with this conversation.

    #7515

    Rob Howden
    Keymaster

    One look through the classified forums and you can see how things aren’t working. Formatting is all jacked up, quotes, etc.

    In fact, just the lack of posted ads versus the old site should be telling enough, don’t even need to look at analytics.

    TBH though, as a newbie to karting, websites sure don’t seem like they are high priority for anyone. Hell, even WKA hasn’t posted any stories or results from the Man. Cup races on Sat & Sun.

    Joshua….as proven by the lack of quote formatting directly above, we need to fix a few things. The formatting will be looked at in good time, as we’ve been addressing a couple other issues first. As for the posted ads, I think that almost 400 unique classified ads in just over a month is pretty strong, considering the fact that we’re in the middle of the season.

    As far as website priority is concerned, WKA isn’t really a good barometer of this, as they have never been overly-forward on trackside coverage. I expect a report from Pitt tomorrow. In stark contrast, our EKN Trackside coverage has been able to expand and flourish with the new site, thanks to more functional and user-friendly photo galleries and the ability to post video and audio interviews within our race reports. These are all very valuable commodities for our readership that those focusing totally on the forums do not take into consideration.

    We’ll be back trackside with live coverage of the Rock Island Grand Prix and US Pro Kart Series finale within the next month, and I can assure you that a large group of karting enthusiasts will make our site a priority during those weekends.

    And, as a newbie, I think you’ll be impressed with the components we have coming down the line to help make it much easier for new racers to enter the sport and enjoy their learning curve.

    #7538

    Greg Wright
    Participant

    Rob,  You asked for my thoughts regarding my earlier comments. Briefly here ya go.

     

    As you know I am involved full time with kart racing as a shop owner, magazine columnist, announcer and broadcaster. As a result I talk to a large number of both current and potential future karters on a daily basis.

      I have had my ear bent by several karters about the changes in the forum. Each and every one of them told me that they visited  EKN for the forum first and foremost and then may read some articles on the home page if they catch their eyes.

       All have indicated that they no longer visit EKN as often as they did previously due to the lack of content on the forums, and a forum that is harder to use and read. I know you don’t agree with the last statement (harder to use) but it is for me as well.

      It’s clear that you feel that you have improved the site and I guess time will tell if the improvements are going in the right direction.  I’ve got no dog in this fight and wish you the best in your endeavors. I will continue to participate and add content to the forum.

     

    Greg Wright

    Rapid Racing Inc.

    #7544

    Rob Howden
    Keymaster

    Thank you for the reply and the input, Greg.

    Each and every person is entitled to their opinion, and that’s great. If ‘ease of use’ and ‘content’ are the two primary comments at this time, this works for me…and here’s why:

    1. Ease of Use – as I have stated, the new forum IS the new forum, plain and simple, and it’s not going to get thrown out to go back to a widescreen format. Our site just doesn’t work that way and it was a pain, business-wise, in the past as well. So, to address ‘ease of use’ with the new forum, we will continue to work on improving the experience to the best of our ability and limitations. That said, I’m sure you’ll agree that the familiarity with the old forum and the discomfort that comes with new things, unknown qualities, is at least partially part of anyone’s negative feelings toward’s the new boards. This will eventually dissipate as people become more comfortable with the new site.

    2. Content – on the old forum, topics were brought and debated, time after time. We re-hashed old topics each year, some people just played along and commented and added to the thread, while others bitched that people simply need to search for a topic instead of starting a new one. What I’m getting at here is that as the days and months go by, every topic from the old forum will be introduced here as well. It’s inevitable. We turn over people in the sport every 3-4 years, we know that, and while it’s a trouble spot in the growth of karting, in this particular case, it means that the new people coming into the sport will be asking the same questions and discussing the same topics as those that came in four years earlier. The content will re-generate itself, as it already is. We are looking into ways to bring some of the old content over, but I can’t comment on the true ability of this possibility at this time.

    Thanks again.

    #7548

    Justin Mitchell
    Participant

    Rob,

    Understand that almost all forums on the internet either use phpBB, vbulletin, or IPB. They all have an extremely similar featureset. There are some other semi-popular boards out there, but they have also have the same featureset as the others. So this wordpress forum will *always* feel unfamiliar and hard to use for any new user. You have basically put up a road block that some new users will be willing to get used to… and some never will be.

    Also, realize that the forums will never recover if certain features are not fixed. The main thing that comes to mind is the search functionality. As it is, the search is worthless. Until search works… the forums are almost useless to me.

    By the way, your old phpBB forums can be run in a “narrow” format with ads on the side, just like these forums are. I didn’t really understand that comment.

    #7608

    Wesley Bourne
    Participant

    Rob –

    Just happened to fall into the world of karting as the old site was being shut down and was on it for a few months before migrating over here.  I’ve been on many automotive forums nearly since their inception, and am marketing director for a large motorsports company in the automotive side.

    As far as improvements for the new forum, the biggest thing I see if the lack of search.  As a newbie there is tons of information out there that I am looking for, some of which may have been hashed over hundreds of times.   Currently this site doesn’t have many of the answers I’m looking for, so I end up having to resort to Google next.

    While I don’t know your traffic reports pre-or post change, I’m curious why you guys didn’t use 301 redirects for the old site prior to shutting it down?  The big problem I see is that now that my searches are taken to Google, E-Karting News always comes up towards the top with an answer, but now that answer is a 404 Not Found and I move onto the next result.   It’s only a matter of time before Google begins to penalize you for these dead links once the crawlers get ahold of them.   Adding redirects could at least get some of the traffic directed towards the right place and hopefully help get your user base back here.  I like others check the forums first and homepage second, and lately as there has been less new content for me to peruse, I find myself checking the forums and the site less often.   (Rememering that Karting has so many divisions, regions, engine types, etc.  With thousands of topics to sort through, you typically found 5-10% that were releveant towards your needs.   Now that 5-10% is of a much more limited number and simply not enough currently to peak my interest).

    #7610

    Eric Stevens
    Participant

    Rob,

    I understand that this is your business, but it seems that you have lost touch with who your end or true customer is. You provide a free forum and editorial site to promote karting yes, but the business side for your is the revenue generated by paying advertisers who rely upon us the end user visiting and using your free product to give value to their advertising dollars. So saying you dont care about us the users, our opinions, and experieinces with “YOUR WEBSITE” is wrong.  The end users, be it lurkers or posters are what determine the going rate for advertising on your site, the more we visit the more you can charge your advertisers. That makes us the customer.

    As you say we can just give up, not visit etc. but what good does that do you or your advertisers. I am certainly not visiting as much, nor spending as much time on the forums as I did, and I can guarantee with 100% certainty I am far from being alone in that regard.

    I have posted that I did not like the new format, still dont and never will. I used to enjoy reading the forums and now dread it. Posts that just complain with crappy  comments like “new site sucks” are wrong and should be removed and dont deserve to be acknowleged, but someone stating they dont like the new site because its hard to read, or hard to navigate should be acknowledged, not met with resistance because you dont agree. You are the creator  and it will be hardest for you to be objective, but you owe it to your readers and yourself to take a step back reevaluate your position.

    Eric

     

     

    #7615

    Rob Howden
    Keymaster

    Rob,

    I understand that this is your business, but it seems that you have lost touch with who your end or true customer is. You provide a free forum and editorial site to promote karting yes, but the business side for your is the revenue generated by paying advertisers who rely upon us the end user visiting and using your free product to give value to their advertising dollars. So saying you dont care about us the users, our opinions, and experieinces with “YOUR WEBSITE” is wrong. The end users, be it lurkers or posters are what determine the going rate for advertising on your site, the more we visit the more you can charge your advertisers. That makes us the customer.

    As you say we can just give up, not visit etc. but what good does that do you or your advertisers. I am certainly not visiting as much, nor spending as much time on the forums as I did, and I can guarantee with 100% certainty I am far from being alone in that regard.

    I have posted that I did not like the new format, still dont and never will. I used to enjoy reading the forums and now dread it. Posts that just complain with crappy comments like “new site sucks” are wrong and should be removed and dont deserve to be acknowleged, but someone stating they dont like the new site because its hard to read, or hard to navigate should be acknowledged, not met with resistance because you dont agree. You are the creator and it will be hardest for you to be objective, but you owe it to your readers and yourself to take a step back reevaluate your position.

    Eric

    Eric,

    Thank you for taking the time to comment here. I’ll first comment that I care very deeply about my readers, both those who use the forum and those who don’t. I also believe that I have a very firm grasp my my business model and the symbiotic connection between our EKN reader and our valued advertiser. Please let me correct the statement that ‘the more we visit, the more you charge’. EKN has not raised its advertising rates for the last four years. There is no correlation there. My rates are based on a guaranteed view count that we triple each month.

    As for our readers, I talk to them every day. I chat with every driver and parent at every race I attend. They are our readers as well, and they have much different EKN experiences that the regular forum visitors and posters.

    I haven’t told people to leave the site, but only that it is what it is. I’ve let them know that I have a plan for the future of EKN and this new site design is part of that route. We have some incredible things planned for the site, new concepts for attracting new karters, educating them, and supporting the industry. It’s hard for me to keep quiet and not respond to all the doubters, although I need to remember that they don’t know my vision, only their own comfort zone, which some believe has been compromised. I understand and truly value that people love EKN (and the forums), and I’m proud of that. But, I cannot sit and let the world of media pass us by. The old site was archiac and was missing all the functionality we need to move forward. And I did not believe that I could do what needed to be done any other way.

    As far as providing our advertisers with value, I learned LONG ago that it’s not just about banner views or click-throughs. That’s only a small part of what we must bring to our clients to make being part of the EKN program successful for them. Yes, it’s a component, but we provide much more….and with this new site platform, I can do even more for them. To me, that’s crucially important.

    And to address your final paragraph. You posted that you ‘don’t like the forum, still don’t and never will. I used to enjoy reading the forums and now dread it.”. That’s hard to read, but it’s your perogative to feel that way. But I also don’t think I’ve given much ‘resistance’ to improving the ‘hard to read and hard to navigate’ feedback. We’re looking at ways to improve it further. Thanks to Howie Idelson, a talented graphic designer, we made some font and style changes which I love, and we’re looking to add more features to improve navigation and the overall experience. That said, the only resistance that I offered up was to the suggestion of scrapping this forum and starting fresh with something else. Put bluntly, that’s not an option right now.

    We’re taking EKN to the next level, and I’m personally excited by everything that is in store. I wish I could let you all in on my vision, but that would ruin the surprise and the ideally consistent run of exciting additions and improvements.

    Eric, thanks again for the comments and the line about the straight negativity being removed from the site. I have read and taken in all that you have offered.

    #7616

    Rob Howden
    Keymaster

    HEY!!! The quote format works now!!! LOL. My team is checking things off the to-do list!

    YES!!!

    Sorry…just a little breather from getting barraged. ;-)

    #7634

    Eric Stevens
    Participant

    Rob,

    Thanks for the response. I understand the need for the change in the website for the everything but the forums. I am not suggesting the old site but rather a better more powerful forum software.

    Are you sure that making the wordpress Forums work is easier than adjusting a more powerful forum software to match your new website. My understanding is that you can make other forum systems match your website easily. I only know enough to be dangerous though.

    I am a karting addict who has gone from racer to sponsor racing with my son so I am not going away, just wanting a better user experience. I hope that happens one way or the other.

    Eric

    #7667

    Jerry Pretti
    Participant

    A small suggestion:  move or duplicate the “Mark All Topics as Read” button to the top of the page.

    I find it a real PITA to have to scroll to the bottom of the page to get to it.

    thanks…

    #7669

    Rob Howden
    Keymaster

    A small suggestion: move or duplicate the “Mark All Topics as Read” button to the top of the page.

    I find it a real PITA to have to scroll to the bottom of the page to get to it.

    thanks…

    Thanks Jerry. We’ll definitely look at this.

    #8247

    Henry Smythe
    Participant

     

    Let’s be real here. You don’t really want honest feedback. When you had real feedback, you cried about it and deleted the posts. What you want is for everybody to agree with you and tell you they like the new site, except they don’t. Everybody hates the new site.

    Everybody knows it is your site, and you can do whatever you want with it. However, the way you disregarded everybody’s feelings was unbelievably arrogant. You keep saying how much better the new site will be, except nobody has seen any hint of it yet.

     

    #8356

    Chris Bany
    Participant

    Henry, that’s real.

    #8379

    Rob Howden
    Keymaster

    Let’s be real here. You don’t really want honest feedback. When you had real feedback, you cried about it and deleted the posts. What you want is for everybody to agree with you and tell you they like the new site, except they don’t. Everybody hates the new site.

    Everybody knows it is your site, and you can do whatever you want with it. However, the way you disregarded everybody’s feelings was unbelievably arrogant. You keep saying how much better the new site will be, except nobody has seen any hint of it yet.

    Henry,

    Leaving feedback in a forum thread serves no useful purpose, but only to fuel a mob mentality of negative commentary. Like any ‘customer feedback box’, we emptied the box, went through all the input, we’ve put together plans to make adjustments, and we are moving forward. To say that we disregarded this feedback is simply ridiculous. But I guess that perception is part of the world we live in. You can’t see behind the scenes, so you make a negative assumption that we don’t care, you call me ‘unbelievably arrogant’, and you feel justified in your post. Would you call me that to my face? I would hope not, considering that fact that you’re only making an assumption based on what you see in a few forum threads. Because if you did, you’d hear that we’re working on this everyday. You’d learn that it’s a constant topic of every day, and steps are being taken to add features that have been requested.

    EKN is a vibrant site, with a staff of two people. Our developer is working on some solutions to other minor issues as well, all while David and I continue to go about the business of running the site. I know you don’t care about this, or our editorial efforts, because it’s all about the forum for you, but the simple fact is that upgrades will be made as soon as we can put them into effect. The reality is that we’re working on it every day.

    And Henry, people don’t ‘hate’ the ‘website’, some just ‘hate’ the new forum. The site itself – the other dozen segments of the site that support the sport and racers with coverage, editorial, news and features, have been extremely well-received. I have a ton of great emails and message from racers, parents, advertisers and the organizations. I do thank those people for their input as well.

    I’m disappointed that you can’t see that the forum continues to provide positive community interaction, and is already evolving with new threads and topics each day. Yes, it’s a different experience and a different look, and it’s lacking a few features of the old site, but if content is actually king, the site will re-generate itself very quickly. So, you can either help that along by adding useful contributions, or you won’t. I can’t make you do either, so it’s up to you to decide if you’re going to make a positive contribution to EKN and the sport, or just comment on what’s wrong with the site.

    #8641

    TJ Koyen
    Participant

    The forum isn’t as streamlined and minimal as the previous iteration but it still serves it’s purpose. I haven’t had any issues with it and I’m still here checking it everyday and posting so clearly it works well enough.

    Excited to see what kind of features can be added and integrated in the future.

    As with any change, immediate backlash is expected, especially when users have gotten so used to the old ways for so long. This is still the best online gathering place for karters to chat and get information, and a little interwebz redecorating isn’t going to change that.

    Keep up the good work EKN. In time, the heat will die down and everyone will get used to the new look and feel.

    #8711

    Steven Novikoff
    Participant

    Rob,

    I too have found myself not looking at EKN as much.  I mostly like the forums and really missed not being able to pull all the new posts from my last visit like you could in the old forums.  Seeing the last four or five posts is fine if you are looking at this constantly, but not if you only come back every few days or so.

    Thanks,

    Steve Novikoff

     

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